Imagine that you are sitting in a theatre, prepared to watch Edmund Spenser perform. Spenser is the most hilarious comedian of the 21st century. Everyone loves him. His shows are always sold out. You know you’re going to laugh until your sides hurt and you can’t breathe. Spenser walks out on stage, somber and serious. He starts his act: Are you laughing yet? Or are you confused? Are you trying to figure out what in the world is happening? Are you trying to figure out what language Spenser is speaking? What’s the difference between your expectations and Spenser’s performance?
Today we’re going to talk about adapting your speech (or writing) to address task and purpose. Today’s lesson objective is: Students will adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks. Learning Skills Take a moment and think about this lesson’s learning objective. What skills will you need to be successful? How can you adapt your speech to address task or purpose? How do you speak to your friends or family? How do you speak if you’re presenting a formal speech? Why do you think each situation calls for different types of speech?
Open your digital notebook and jot down a few learning skills you might use to achieve these objectives. https://pixabay. com/en/singer-musician-performervocalist-6901171 [DOK1: Standard American English] http://www. morguefile. com/archive/display/215636 The concept of Standard American English is difficult to define. Realistically, there is no “standard” that can encompass the rich, culturally significant diversity of dialects spoken in the United States. A dialect is a particular form of language specific to a particular region or social group.
For example, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania the word yinz is an acceptable form of the word you. Likewise, in the South, the word y’all is an acceptable form of the word you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with dialect. However, dialect is considered informal speech. Like dialect, slang words and colloquialisms are also categorized as informal speech. Slang is a type of language that consists of words and phrases that are regarded as casual or informal (ain’t, yeah, gonna, bro). Typically, slang words are used in specific social groups, like teenagers.
For example, the word syke (which means just kidding) was a popular slang term used in the 1980s. Chances are that you’ve never heard that term before because it is specific to children and teenagers raised in the 1980s. A colloquialism can be considered slang; however, it is similar to dialect because it is specific to a particular geographic region and not a particular social group. For example, there are regional borders that separate the usage of the words soda, pop, soft drink, and Coke (used as generic term and not just to refer to the brand). For example, people from the Pittsburgh area use the term pop.
If you visit Pittsburgh and ask for a Coke, you’re going to get a Coca-Cola product. Dialect, slang words, and colloquialisms make up a part of who we are. However, the harsh reality is that you will be judged based on how you speak. Consider the following statement: Think about it this way: Let’s compare language to clothing. Think about how you dress for different occasions. Wouldn’t it be weird if you went to school wearing a prom dress or a tuxedo? Would you go to a job interview wearing ripped jeans and a cutoff T-shirt? You wear clothing according to the occasion. Likewise, you use language according to the situation.
How you speak to your friends is different than how you speak on a job interview. Each situation calls for different types of clothing just like each situation calls for different forms of speech. Let’s take a moment to practice the basics. ELA8_B_4_11_ACT_1 [DOK2: Informal vs. Formal Language] https://pixabay. com/en/bridal-son-in-law-marriagewedding-636018/ Great job! Now let’s consider task. A task can be defined as a piece of work to be done or undertaken. Understanding your task when it comes to writing or speaking will help you determine whether or not you must use formal language.
For example, let’s say your teacher gives you the following assignment: Though the letter is about The Faerie Queene, writing a letter to a friend does not require formal language. However, let’s say your teacher gives you this assignment instead: This assignment is asking you to write an essay analyzing a piece of literature. This task will require a formal use of language. Let’s take a look at some of the key differences between formal and informal language: Let’s take a moment to practice recognizing the difference between formal and informal writing. ELA8_B_4_11_ACT_2 [DOK3: Purpose] ttps://commons. wikimedia. org/wiki/ File:Kulikov_Writer_E. N. Chirikov_1904. jpg Fantastic work! Now let’s take a look at purpose. Like task, your purpose can also determine the type of language you use. An author’s purpose is the reason why an author writes. Typically, author’s purpose can be categorized into three main reasons:
1. To entertain: the author’s purpose is to amuse his or her audience or to provide an escape from reality. Texts of this type include short stories, poems, dramas, novels, and songs. Typically, the writing or speaking related to this purpose will be informal. For example, the dialogue in a short story, drama, or novel may include dialect, slang, or colloquialisms.
2. To inform: the author’s purpose is to educate his or her audience or to provide information about a topic. Texts of this type include expository essays, newspaper articles, directions, instructions, encyclopedia entries, and textbooks. Typically, the writing or speaking related to this purpose will be formal. For example, consider an encyclopedia or history textbook. The writing does not include dialect, slang, or colloquialisms unless it is referencing a direct quote in order to inform readers.
3. To persuade: the author’s purpose is to convince his or her audience to take action or to convince them of an idea through argument. Texts of this type include advertisements, political campaign speeches, and editorials. The writing or speaking related to this purpose can vary between formal or informal depending on the audience the author is trying to persuade. For example, if an author is attempting to persuade a particular group of people, he or she may use slang or colloquialisms in order to connect with his or her audience. In addition, the author or speaker may address his or her audience directly using the second person (you, your).
These are broad categories that help simplify the process of evaluating author’s purpose. However, it’s important to consider that authors can have many reasons for writing. For example, let’s consider The Faerie Queene. We know that The Faerie Queene is a poem. We also know that Spenser spins a very imaginative tale about knights, damsels in distress, epic battles, and horrific monsters. Clearly, the author’s purpose is to entertain. However, we also know that The Faerie Queene is meant to represent support for Queen Elizabeth and the Protestant religion. Therefore, Spenser’s purpose could also be to praise.
Let’s take a moment to practice evaluating author’s purpose. ELA8_B_4_11_ACT_3 Summary Awesome job today! Remember that, in many ways, the language you use is like the clothing you wear: You must use language (or wear clothes) appropriate for the situation. Whether we agree with it or not, judgments are made based on language use (just like unfair judgments are made based on appearance). Determining both your task and purpose will help you decide whether or not formal language is necessary. Before your next lesson, please read Canto 11 of The Faerie Queene.